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Authored by Jordan F

Everyone knows that when you bring a dog into your life, you’re not only welcoming a ton of new excitement, but you’re also embracing a substantial amount of new responsibility.

That responsibility, however, doesn’t mean you need to give up your flexibility when it comes to travel, at least not all of it!

It has become quite acceptable in today’s day and age to bring your pet with you, and travel with your dog on the plane. So the following are our trips on flying with your dog; because there’s no reason you should have to choose between your wanderlust and your pet!

Tips for Flying with Your Dog

Crate Training & Dog Carrier Bags

The two keys to successfully traveling with your dog are crate training and a good dog carrier bag.

I’ve found that most dogs who are crate trained, do well with traveling in a travel bag. If your dog isn’t crate trained then extended travel, especially on an airplane, has the potential to become an extremely stressful situation for both you and your dog.

But it’s very easy to turn your dog into an expert traveler with the following steps.

Training Steps

Once your dog is properly crate trained, the introduction of a carrier bag is relatively easy.

One thing that worked for me was keeping the carrier bag in my car, and having Carl sit in it every time we were on our way out for the day. After a while, he started associating having fun and going to places he enjoyed with sitting in his bag.

At first, I would keep the bag closed, and reward him with treats for good behavior while he was in the bag. Within two weeks Carl was diving head first into any bag I put in front of him!

Now it’s to the point where I can’t keep the bag in my apartment without Carl trying to hang out in there.

My Carrier Bag Recommendations

Sherpa Carrier

If Sherpa makes a bag that your dog can comfortably fit in, you really can’t go wrong.

The Sherpa Carrier Bag in large should work for dogs at or under 22 pounds. This bag features an over the shoulder strap, as well as the standard velcro handles.

For added comfort, I wrap one of Carl’s favorite blankets around the removable insert pad that comes with the bag.

Sherpa also makes a bag with wheels on it! This bag is an excellent option for traveling with larger dogs, or for individuals with disabilities.

➡ View on Amazon.

I-GO2 Plus Traveler

The Sherpa Carrier was the first bag we used, but at this point, Carl has slightly outgrown the large carrier. Since the bag was no longer an option, we switched to the Pet Gear I-GO2 Plus Traveler.

I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find a bag that matched the quality build that the Sherpa offered, but as soon as the I-GO2 Plus Traveler arrived I immediately knew that I found a comparable, if not superior quality level.

The number of options the I-GO2 Plus Traveler offers is my favorite thing about this bag. You can go from using the backpack straps, to pulling the bag behind you using its wheels in under 30 seconds.

It also can be laid flat, and instead of your dog standing upright, your dog can freely lay down and have a makeshift den of their own!

➡ View on Amazon.

Food & Water

Depending on the length of your trip, I suggest making sure you feed your dog several hours before your flight or drive starts.

Be sure to bring extra dog food with you. Two servings in your carry-on bag should do the trick. Air dried dog food has worked especially well since it contains a lot of nutrients in a compact package.

You never know what may or may not happen with your flight, so your best bet is to be prepared in case of delays.

Try to limit the amount of water you give to your dog before your trip. While Airports will typically have dog relief stations, I have found that most dogs are hesitant to want to go to the bathroom while traveling.

My goal is always to make sure my dog is as comfortable as possible. Be sure to have a bowl or cup your little one can drink out of in your carry-on.

During long trips, I also suggest offering your dog an ice cube from time to time. Carl love’s to munch on them.

What Else Should You Bring?

➡ Puppy Pads- Just in case!

➡ Toys. Traveling is boring for everyone, including dogs. Bring something to distract them. Preferably something they can’t destroy.

➡ Extra food. You never know if your flight will get canceled or delayed. Your best option is to have about two servings of extra dog food in your carry-on bag.

➡ Travel Water Bowl. It’s crucial for them to have something to drink. I carry a water bottle that has a removable bottom compartment that works great for a quick little bowl!

➡ Vaccination Documents. Sometimes airlines or hotels will ask for documents, sometimes they won’t. Always have them with you just in case. I carry a folder in my backpack with all of Carl’s info.

➡ Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time when you first travel with your fur ball. Just because you have a dog doesn’t mean you can’t take them along on your travels.

PRODUCTS WE LOVE IF YOU DECIDE TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR DOG ↓

Mr. Peanut’s Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier

Comsun Collapsible Dog Bowl

Portable Pet Bento Bowl Set Leak Proof

INSPIRED?! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓

Jordan is the creator behind naturaldogowner.com, a website dedicated to eliminating the headache that comes with developing a healthy and loving relationship between you and your dog.

His main goal is to help give your four legged family member the best quality of life imaginable. And that includes bringing them with you on your trips!

    26 Comments

  1. Wow! Great idea 🙂 I am going to train my puppy sooner.

    Really helpful and Thanks for Sharing!

    • Glad the post was helpful for you Gloria 🙂 Happy training / travels!

  2. I’m totally a dog person and enjoyed this post immensely! I’ve always wondered how people travel with dogs and now I know! Good tips about carrying extra food, toys, and making sure the dog is crate trained if flying. Will remember these if I ever get a dog!

    • So glad you enjoyed the post Lisa! Maybe on your next trip you can take your dog with you 🙂

  3. Great post. We travel quite a bit with our fur babies via road trips but haven’t done the plane thing. We are thinking about it for a trip later this year, so thanks for the great suggestions.

    • Thanks Samantha! Road trips are my preference with pets, as they’re definitely a lot easier, but no reason you can’t succeed with your pets in flight as well 🙂 Glad we could help with some suggestions. Happy travels!

  4. Aww this dog is so cute! I don’t have a pet… but I would love to have a cat or a small dog. So far I didn’t get one because I don’t want to leave him alone when I m on the road. Now there’s no excuse.

    • Isn’t he!! Having a pet definitely limits your travel options a little bit more than if you were to leave them at home, but it’s becoming more and more common to travel with them, and if you’re happy to put in a little extra research for filling in immigration paperwork if traveling internationally, and finding pet friendly hotels, definitely no excuse 🙂

  5. Excellent advice! And right on time with the recent news of the pup dying in an overhead compartment. I think it’s awesome that the airlines are allowing more of our furry babies to fly these days and that people like you are working is help educate people on how to train their pets for travel. It’s so important since spaces are so crowded and of course, you don’t want the little guys too stressed out on a long flight.

    • Thanks Heidi, glad you enjoyed Jordan’s post 🙂 Oh no!!! I didn’t hear about the pup who died in an overhead 🙁 That’s really tragic – I can’t even imagine putting my pet in the overhead!!!! It’s surely as bad as those people who leave their dogs locked in cars with the windows closed 🙁

      Yes, absolutely re airlines being more open to travelers bringing their pets – but they (our pets) do need to be trained first to avoid a lot of stress 🙂

  6. Whoa! I had no idea that were roller or backpack options for traveling with a dog! That’s pretty awesome! I’m glad there are decent options for people traveling with pets.

    • Aren’t they cool! Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  7. Excellent tips! And definitely needed nowadays with so many incidents going on with pets and airlines. Pinned & shared, thank you!

    • Thanks Shannon, glad you enjoyed Jordan’s post 🙂 Yes, its always so difficult reading about tragedies / incidents with pets on plane – people do need to train their pets beforehand, and research so they know how to take care of them too. Appreciate the shares, happy travels!

  8. I’m not a pet owner. But I can certainly appreciate the desire of pet owners to make their pets part of their travel experience. The tips about carrying extra food and toys and ensuring that the dog is crate trained would certainly come in handy for anyone travelling with their pets.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Denny even though you’re not a pet owner yourself… Perhaps tips to keep in mind if you do get a pet down the line 🙂

  9. Can you add a line about not paying to get your animal declared an Emotional Support Animal? I hate how people are faking needing an Emotional Support Animal so they don’t have to pay fees on the animal.

    Great tips on the carriers.

    • That’s a great tip Jennifer – yes it’s getting a bit ridiculous at how liberally ESA is being applied, it will be interesting to see if airlines and other businesses start to regulate this more strictly.

  10. You did a great job delivering a complete guide. I always wondered how dog owners handle traveling with their pets and realizing it’s not so bad when you come prepared with food, water, and toys. I always felt bad for the dogs, but after reading this I know you’re as big of a dog (well animal) lover as I am.

    • Glad you enjoyed Jordan’s post Allison 🙂 It can definitely be a stressful process if you haven’t researched the best strategies and approaches, but yes, food, water and toys (and training) are the cornerstones. As long as the dogs are trained well, and really looked after, there shouldn’t be any problem from a pet welfare perspective taking them on a flight 🙂

  11. First of all, how cute is Carl! 🙂 Wow, he looks like a snuggle bug. Second, thank you immensely for your crate suggestions! I also like the steps you described for helping your dog ENJOY the crate. My dog always whines. This is a habit that we need to kick!

    • Oh my gosh I know right!! So glad the post was helpful Hannah, I hope you’re able to get your pup more used to his crate over time 🙂

      Happy travels!

  12. We have two dogs, and it’s definitely a bit more challenging to travel with both of them. One is a Yorkshire terrier and small enough to fit comfortably in a carrier, but the other one is a mix between whippet and greyhound, so longlegged and not the kind of dog that just throws herself on the ground in a heap, but has to plan how to lie down. Perhaps a large enough roller bag would work for her.

    About toys, a chewing toy is best suited I guess for an airplane ride. My dogs get really thirsty after chewing for a while though, and denying them water is cruel of course, but the extra drinking also makes them need to pee more frequently. Have to figure that one out!

    Thansk for bringing up what to think about when flying with your dog.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Katrin, and thankyou for sharing your experiences – wow I give you credit for managing the flight with two! It sounds like you’ve got a great handle on it though, it becomes a lot easier with practice obviously 🙂

      Definitely a balancing act between allowing them to drink water and trying to limit their bathroom habits in flight!

      Happy travels 🙂

  13. Read this at the perfect timing as I wanted to bring my puppy with me overseas! I loved how detailed the post was. This really helped me to have a better understanding of it all.

    • Fabulous Sydnee! Glad we could help – hope you and your puppy have a wonderful trip 🙂

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